For years, Lindsay Smith has been obsessed with wine. Come autumn, she’ll be surrounded by it. That’s when she’ll open Flight Cleveland, a wine shop and bar, in the former home of Latitude 41n (5712 Detroit Ave.) in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood.
“Flight is something that has been bouncing around in my head for many, many years,” explains Smith, formerly Bon Appétit’s Director of Catering and Sales at the Cleveland Museum of Art. “It started out as a passion project; all of my travels were becoming wine focused, all of the sudden I was getting my wine certification and becoming the resident wine nerd among all of my friends. And slowly it turned into a nagging question of, okay, how do I turn this into a profession, because I obviously have a passion for it.”
Smith says that she quit her job, moved to Milwaukee and apprenticed for nearly a year at a wine shop and bar. There, she expanded and sharpened her palate, observed what was and wasn’t working in terms of customer satisfaction, enrolled in business classes and drafted a business plan.
It was around that time that she was shown the former Latitude 41n space.
“I immediately walked in and fell in love with it – it’s cool and quirky and immediately I started to see Flight come to life there,” she states.
The property will feature two distinct spaces, one devoted to a large bar and soft seating like sofas, armchairs and banquettes. The opposite side will be dedicated to the tasting room and retail bottle shop. Wines will be poured from a nitro-based, temperature controlled wine dispensing system that holds 29 varieties. If you try something you like, pick up a bottle to go from the retail area stocked with some 400 labels.
As the name suggests, wine flights will be offered that showcase various wine styles, regions and varietals, all in an attempt to get people to experience new things.
“The whole goal is to strip away some of the pretense and bring in a little more fun, a little more adventure, and a little liveliness to wine because, let’s be honest, it’s just fermented grape juice – it doesn’t have to be so serious,” Smith says.
In addition to the flights there will tasting pours, glass pours and bottles can be purchased at retail and enjoyed onsite for a reasonable corkage fee. Smith says that she’s aiming to highlight value-conscious wines in the $10-$30 range, but will offer some higher-ticket labels as well.
Three draft taps will be dedicated to craft beer, plus a few shelves will be stocked with bottles of beer as well.
In terms of food, Smith says that she’ll leave the heavy lifting to her neighbors. At Flight, she’ll stick to approachable snacks like charcuterie, cheese, olives and nuts.
When she opens Flight this fall, it will be all according to plan, she asserts.
“This neighborhood is where I wanted to be from the get-go,” she says. “I wrote my business plan and crafted this whole thing with the intention of being in Detroit Shoreway. I’m excited about it. I think it’s going to be fun and I hope it will complement everything else that’s happening here. That’s really the goal.”
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